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Thread: What will the 2011/2012 season bring us in ice dance?

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    What will the 2011/2012 season bring us in ice dance?

    WHAT WILL THE 2011/2012 SEASON BRING US IN ICE DANCE?

    The 2010/2011 season was more memorable than I think any of us had any right to expect. V/M were out, so D/W were expected to cruise to their WC (finally, you hear their many fans say). Unexpectedly close scores with P/B on the GP circuit made that a touch scarier for some (I think most of us expected them to improve more quickly anyway, as they did). Than V/M came back at 4CC, and with their season debut, outscored them in the SD. And they had to WD from the FD!!! Goodness, watching that had my heart in my throat. P/B were cruising to their bronze medal, and then that freak eight point fall (what it ended up costing them) knocked them off, and the Shibs (the Shibs?!?!?) were the beneficiaries. Goodness, there once was a time when ice dancers were expected to wait, and if you were from North America, well, patience was a virtue (sorry). But a North American sweep? On Russian soil? Goodness.

    The Kerrs and Faiella/Scali retired. Then the Italians changed their mind (aka, saw the state of European ice dance and said, well, why not us?). The Russian depth seemed to reassert itself a little, particularly on the junior slates (5 or 6 of the JGPF teams were Russian). So here’s the thread to speculate on next season, with some questions, discussions, and maybe even answers.

    Russia, oh Russia
    The eye is on Sochi. Heading into this season, Ilynikh/Katsalapov were supposed to be elevated to Russian number one status. They were not supposed to fight with Riazanova/Tkachenko for a spot on the Worlds team. They were most definitely not supposed to miss out on a GP medal at their debut. And most assuredly, they weren’t supposed to lose their FD at Nationals to Khoklova/Andreev. They righted many concerns at Euros with two solid skates, but once again, their FD at Worlds was marred with errors (the beginning where Nikita simply freezes, that lift that looks like she’ll decapitate him and then crash to the ground). The coaching debate started instantly, and has proven out. But you’ve gotta wonder if such instant interference (I almost said meddling) in their affairs is beneficial, regardless of any immediate results. This is especially true with this extended season, where the rules about how to train were rewritten due to the unexpected extension. Thankfully, they with Bobrova/Soloviev got back that third spot, so next season the Russian depth will have a bit stronger representation.

    O Canada.....
    Crone/Poirier? Colleen (and many others) hates their packaging/presentation. Chuck’s called them out for their program choices and lack of chemistry (as have others). KKonas has criticized their lack of power. Meanwhile, Skate Canada gave Lane’s team the full court press heading into the GP season, and in a Voirless season, they had four straight victories over their main competitors, Weaver/Poje. Chinks in the armour (their Nationals victory was quite close, W/P beating them at the GPF/4CC SDs only to fall behind later) were present, but it’s hard not to note that when you have a win rate like C/P does to automatically assume that you were... ahead. And then Worlds happened. W/P outranked C/P. And by nine points, so no mere minor victory (which is bigger than any victory C/P had over W/P this season).

    It’s not just that C/P were beaten by W/P for the first time since the 2007/2008 season. It’s because, if you look at C/P’s performance in REAL terms, it’s quite a depressing story (three teams ahead of them at Worlds 2010 weren’t there: Z/Z, F/S, Kerrs. Teams they beat last year, B/S, C/L, beat them this year. Teams they beat on the GP circuit: Shibs, C/Z, W/P... ditto). It would’ve been totally fair for them to challenge for the top five. Instead..... We can forgive the short dance: after all, it’s a new format, and not everyone understands it immediately. My big question: what lessons do C/P (along with Lane) take from this? Because they are myriad.. Because if they don’t learn from this, it’s likely they’ll continue to stagnate... or worse.

    And it’s not as if the teams behind them are gonna stay still. W/P are gonna take a huge confidence boost from this (I love Krylova and Weaver’s reactions to the FD score at Worlds), of course, but I’m thinking in particular about Paul/Islam. P/I know what they need to do. And if their improvement from their junior season is any example, they will do it. Indeed, I think it’s pretty much a gimme that they’ll improve much more rapidly than C/P. The question is will a slower improvement by C/P be enough? Next season’s SD doesn’t work to their favour (the rhumba should be slinky. They don’t have a slinky bone in their bodies). I’m very curious and about ready to write them off, if I’m honest.

    A cornucopia of riches
    Perhaps the worst time to get injured is the first season after the Olympics. Even when the hierarchy is fluid, narratives tend to start within the federations and become hard to dislodge. So, the injury to Samuelson/Bates happened at a bad time. Not only that, but the teams in line (Shibs, C/Z) took advantage of it like nobody’s business. The scoring at Nationals and Worlds clearly demonstrate that the Shibs are the second team, but C/Z actually outperformed what S/B were able to do in their first world appearance, and matched them in their second. But more than that, we don’t know where S/B are in their recovery (his recovery). I wagered, after seeing them at Worlds 09, they were future world champions. Ah, Skate Gods, I smite thee!

    Perhaps even worse off is the team of Alessandrini/Vaturi. An extended lift meant they didn’t make the World junior podium in 2010. A fluke fall from Cappellini meant that Italy didn’t get three spots for this season, something I thought was a lock (Skate Gods, I smite thee again!). An injury meant a massive set back this season. Even at Euros, where they were clearly undertrained, they demonstrated creativity, verve and some exciting movies (that straight-line lift... jaw dropping). They’re more than a journeyman team, and I would love it if they got some more admiration. Hopefully, next season F/S and C/L combine to get three spots so we get to see more of them

    The Canton Quartet vs the Rest
    You know, according to COP, the hardest program TES wise has already been done. And it’s done every season or two. Generally, a team is able to do a straight level four program. W/P did it at 4CC with their SD. I/K did it last season, as did D/W, with their FDs. This is a roundabout way of saying that “perfection” in ice dance is more easily definable and attainable than it is in other disciplines. The Canton quartet are staring down at that goal right now.

    One judge at Moscow gave D/W straight threes for all their technical elements (the first time that’s happened, I’m sure). Four judges gave them at least one ten. One judge gave V/M four tens (and there was no Canadian judge on the panel). V/M scored the highest PCS ever at Worlds 2010 (note: Navka/Kostamorov had higher TCS at Cup of Russia 2003, but that was under different factoring. A direct comparison of the scores has V/M and D/W both outscoring them). Part of me thinks that the ground left to cover (literally a few tenths of a point to perfection in any given component-score, and overall just over two points) is obviously going to be difficult. Getting all the judges to give them tens in PCS... well, you can’t politick to perfection. So even if they improve, their scores won’t.

    But... the scores didn’t close that much from last year to this year. If we presume that V/M would’ve been closer to D/W if healthy and use that score as a benchmark, the difference with the top two teams as compared to the rest shrunk (27 points last season, 22 points this season), and considering that the two teams had a three-four point advantage from the CD negated, that’s a small change.

    I guess my question is (a) will anyone challenge them over the next few years and (b) who? If P/B skate beyond 11/12, I’ll be surprised – though they are talking about gunning for Sochi, fwiw (and also, I doubt they’d be able to catch to the quartet that basically surpassed them as soon as they appeared). The Russian contingent seems to be fighting amongst themselves – I thought Bobrova/Soloviev would’ve made a bigger leap forward this season (I also really like them). Maybe the Shibutanis? On the one hand, fluke medals tend not to repeat themselves (and may trigger a backlash), but they certainly asserted themselves in a big way this season. Of course, when you realize just how young the Canton quartet actually are and think that they could (possible/maybe) dominate until Sochi.... wow.

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    Here are some of my thoughts:

    Davis & White vs Virtue & Moir- too close to call. Make no mistake these two teams will be in their own battle with nobody challenging them next season. The other teams while not able to threaten them next season, must also close the points gap if they have a hope to challenge them by 2013 or more likely by 2014. If the gap is not closed at all, it will be nearly impossible to catch these two teams this quad unless one or both retire before Sochi (I think V/M might due to ongoing injuries and having already won the Oly Gold, and also depending if D/W were to start regularly beating them). Anyway I have no idea which will win next season, if both are healthy it is a 50/50 call.

    Shibutanis- I have a feeling they will have a minor sophomore slump of sorts. I think they were were a bit lucky to medal in Moscow, the French had to make a huge error, and they seemed to be the only up and coming team that really had their acts together. I still think they have a decent future, but I dont see a repeat medal for them next year, in fact if they even win the bronze again in 2012 I will be very surprised. And even long term I am not sure if they will ever be artistically strong enough to be a World Champion, technically strong enough for sure, but I dont know if I see them developing a special look or magic on the ice together as brother and sister.

    Pechalat & Bourzat- they blew their best opportunity ever for a medal this year. Then again with Worlds in France next season they might be able to do it there. I cant see them hanging onto 2014, or ever becoming World Champions, but if they prove me wrong good for them. I am sure at this point if they could defend their European title and win a medal of any color at Worlds next year they will be thrilled. It is pretty much now or never time for them.

    Failla & Scali- not sure why they are coming back. They are done.

    Bobrova & Soloviev- they did not make the progress I expected this season. Dissapointing results at both the GP final and Worlds. Not sure where they go from here, I am sure their goal is a medal at Worlds next season but they obviously have some work to do. If they dont medal at Worlds next year their chances to be Russian #1 come Sochi are likely thin, inspite of I/K going through some growing pains now.

    Ilynikh & Katsalapov- their debut senior season was a real dissapointment given expecatations, especialy with the Shibutanis success. Then again a 7th place finish at their first Worlds shouldnt be too disheartending. Hopefully the coaching change works out for them, as if they dont make a big move next year the skeptism over their long term prospects will grow. I am sure they also have the goal to fight for a World medal in 2012.

    Weaver & Poje- I was surprised they came 5th at Worlds. I was happy to see them finally beat Crone & Poirier. Will be Canadas firm #2 next season I predict, as C&P look like they are on the way down. Still not sure if they are ever going to be World medalists, nearly all the other contenders are younger than they are.

    Crone & Poirier- Will drop to #4 in Canada behind Mitchell & Islam next season I predict.

    Samuelson & Bates- will have to fight hard to even be U.S #3 next season.

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    No other discipline has the dictation of programs like Ice Dance so when it comes to the Shibutanis doing a Rumba people are like can they do it? But it is so tech heavy now! I don't think anyone can really think that if the Shibutanis get all level 4's on their CD and all level 4 in twizzles and spins and steps their PCS will really go down. Or are they thinking that doing a Rumba will be such a challenge that it will effect their tech? I don't know but MY point is next season is so set with the top 3 already. VMDW will become VMDWSS. Three locked teams that no other team can ever ever beat unless its one of those three beating each other. S/S were already 4th in the SD at worlds. People will hope that they will fall and they might win. Unlike 6.0 falls really really really hurt now but Ice Dance is still the discipline that gets locked into the same people winning over and over no matter what.

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    The thing is that they won by like tenths of a point where P/B had an EIGHT POINT mistake. Essentially, P/B still almost won bronze without doing an element. There does seem to be a bit of fear mongering in what you write here, gmyers. The Shibutanis fluked into a bronze medal and now they're locked in? I expect to see P/B's PCS maintain/increase - especially at home next season.

    Shall be interesting.

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    PCS for S/S could rise too with their success. More success already than P/B. So could the GOE they get on the technical elements they are so good at. S/S are not DWVM untouchable by all the other teams but they are the closest to their level. VM PCS was 56 and DW 57 in the FD maybe S/S could be there next season from their 48 this season in the FD. I don't think rhumba is really going to mean anything. S/Z teams have all the tech and all the PCS point getting ability down. Much more than other teams in the world.

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    You're talent for reporting is excellent - a little mix of facts and opinion. Not unlike most critiques I read. I think you should show this to some publishers.

    As to the lineup for the Skate Dance this coming season, there are many teams I enjoy watching, but I believe it will be V/M; D/W; P/B on the podium, in no particular order. 4th Place will be a Russian Team heading down to Sochi.

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    If as some claim the Shibs won't medal again because they are "brother and sister" then I feel pretty good looking at Ice Dancing as something far less than sport and strictly as a pageant discipline.

    I will follow ice dancing more closely when it becomes more about the skating and not mock romance on the ice.
    Don't get me wrong, I am as romantic as the next person. I just don't feel romantically involved watching mock love on the ice although many times some of the routines do make me laugh.

    In many "sports" the youth of the Shibs would be seen as a plus since they have potential to improve and mature more than many of their older rivals.

    Instead we hear little about their skating skills and mostly whether they can sell a mock romance.
    Sorry, that is not sport but something closer to a theatrical show.

    As far as having a "special connection" on the ice I already see something very unique in the Shibs. Their connection looks much closer to me than what I see from D/W or V/M because they are not faking it.

    The Duchesnays had it too. For me a real and genuine closeness goes FAR beyond a fake, theatrical romance.
    Last edited by janetfan; 05-23-2011 at 08:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    PCS for S/S could rise too with their success. More success already than P/B. So could the GOE they get on the technical elements they are so good at. S/S are not DWVM untouchable by all the other teams but they are the closest to their level. VM PCS was 56 and DW 57 in the FD maybe S/S could be there next season from their 48 this season in the FD. I don't think rhumba is really going to mean anything. S/Z teams have all the tech and all the PCS point getting ability down. Much more than other teams in the world.
    This is a good point. Remember the Shibs are still growing toward their peak. It's logical to assume they will continue to improve their PCS over the next few seasons, if not months.

    In the context of PCS, when you look back at the last Olympic cycle and examine the growth of PCS scores by D/W and V/M both within and across seasons, there was marked improvement each year. They were on par with more senior teams in TES almost from the beginning, so as their PCS improved and the their elements became cleaner and more difficult, they caught up to and eventually surpassed their rivals. Given that Marina and Igor are so meticulous in their training, I expect similar growth from the Shibs.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    I dunno. I thought Dubreuil/Lauzon were quite sexy in their 2007 Worlds CD. That said, I hope they dance a merengue, because that's the most fun to say.
    D/L's rhumba was just about the only sexy version of that dance I can ever recall without the benefit of checking youtube.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    If a number of dancers do go that route ie, sexy/sensual, do you think the Shibs not will stand out as a good thing or a bad thing?
    I think it's a good thing if they choose to distinguish themselves by going in another direction. See why I think so below.

    Back to the 80's
    I think the Shibs should be looked at through a slightly different prism. Three teams from way back that no one has mentioned who could serve as really good role models for the Shibs were Wilson/McCall, Blumberg/Seibert and early Klimova/Ponomarenko. They did not traffic in explicitly romantic dances (even K/P pre-88 as newlyweds), but used cheekiness, humor, energy, excitement and absolute technical brilliance to make themselves stand out amongst all the high drama of T/D and B/B. Tracy and Rob were excellent technically but more for their actual blades on the ice skating and less for their dramatic lifts. Marina and Sergei were so good, you never had to worry that they would fail to deliver an excellent skate. In fact, the chief criticism of them for years was that they should have actually tapped their off-ice marriage to inject more heat into their dances. Still, their quality was so undeniably good, that they were either 1st or 2nd at worlds for and astounding 8 years. Judy and Michael perhaps resembled the Shibs the most of these teams. They had smooth as butter edges, flow for days and an ease that just made you smile. I think Alex and Maia could very well mold themselves in that way in order to develop a long term senior style.

    No one can accurately claim that W/McC or B/S ever skated a truly romantic dance, for somewhat obvious reasons. Yet they creatively choreographed their routines to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. I think the Shibs can definitely tap that well to their own advantage. Remember, not all dancing has to be super sexy or raunchy to be good. This is not Dancing with the Stars. (I write this as my jaw is on the floor b/c Mark Ballas and his partner COMPLETELY RIPPED OFF V/M's opening to their free dance for their samba during tonight's finals. Down to the costumes.)

    See examples of my points below.

    Wilson/McCall

    '86 Worlds (3rd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWWl6azWR4s

    '88 Olympics OSP and FD (3rd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6ffI31sMTw (an example of how to do a tango NOT meant to smolder)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWO4eG_EwG8 (such a happy memory...RIP Rob)

    Klimova/Ponomarenko

    '85 Worlds (2nd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_vE5sCkPac (A clinic on the multi-rhythm format of ice dance)

    '86 Worlds (2nd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O85swOkgj8

    '87 Worlds (2nd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9hDLvAdcWg

    '88 Olympics (2nd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acXA7...eature=related (even though Uncle Dick presents this dance in a romantic framework, it could easily be slightly re-choreographed to suit a bro/sis team like the Shibs)

    Blumberg Seibert

    '83 Nationals
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uo6kumWyO4

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    Maybe some of us are underrating the Shibutanis but I think it is way over the top to call them locked into a medal from now on or fighting with V/M and D/W on top already. Even if their scores improve alot that would at best put them on par with a normal P/B considering P/B would have blown them away by about 8 points this year without their disaester.

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    My 2011-2012 Ice Dance Daze

    This took some sorting out..



    Well, I've been waiting for Pogue to start his" What Will 2012 Bring Us In.". threads,( hey, no pressure..) and then I saw Back Stage Barbie's Pre-season Chatter thread , which I plan to respond to, at least in part ... but mostly, it's the dance scene that has my head spinning, so I thought I'd start this in the meantime.

    I didn't think the Ice Dance scene could get more mind boggling than last year..and then there were the splits , retirements and changes on the coaching scene … and here we go again.
    I'm eager to see how the young teams that moved up last year follow up this year.

    Overall, I think the Rhumba /Latin theme in the SD leaves the door open for a lot of bad interpretations. I love Latin music , but I feel even more ambivalent about the SD this year than last.

    The Shibs..( I'm definitely ready for more of what they've got. ) I'm imagining a more playful , dance-til-you-drop SD from them, rather than stressing sex appeal ,which could wind up being very refreshing this year. And There's a lot of good music from Sun Valley Seranade for their FD. I'm expecting good things.

    Weaver / Poje .. because they'd been held back from world's for a couple of years , 2011 was like a second debut for them .I hope their FD has a more sophisticated concept ( I'm not sure what to think of their FD music..a lot will depend on the variation in the arrangement ) . I expect they will starting out with the wind already in their sails, and I'm sure they can bring the sizzle to their SD.

    Ilinykh / Katsalapov ..I truly don't know what to expect. Their talent is undeniable , but I didn't think a lot of their material last year. This year.. generally , I'm not a fan of the use of Ave Maria in skating and I don't know who's doing their choreo..but I'm not generally a fan of Morozov's. I thought they made the mistake of trying to be too different in the SD last year .. this year , if it's Morozov, I'm afraid I might find it too ... well , I can't help thinking of the heavy-handed “sexy” stuff he's done for Miki, Florent, Javier ..I'll just have to wait and see , but I don't feel comfortable. To me Morozov has not been good at recognizing where something goes beyond sexy to just crude and vulgar.

    Riazanova / Tkatchenko (sp?)..I loved their Sviridov SD last year, but felt their FD was a dud. I like them as a couple , and having had another year growing together, they could make things interesting .If their Sviridov FD brings out the qualities we saw in last year's SD , I/K could face quite a challenge from them. Don't know what to expect from their SD, at all...but I can certainly imagine her in Latin mode .

    Paul / Islam... I'm so glad they'll fully have a chance to compete this year. I can hardly contain my curiosity to see these two , for 2 main reasons : 1. Every time I've seen them, they've shown a marked improvement over the last time , and I've no reason to think this early season will be any different, according to reports I've heard so far. 2 . I'm completely smitten with their music choices, especially for the SD ( sophisticated, distinctive,different..but unmistakably the proper rhythms ) , and I think there's a lot to like in the Elton John FD music as well. With SD choreo from Haguenauer (with whom they've worked before...and a very nice program it was ) and Wilson for their FD , I expect a mature , stylish presentation from them.I think they're a very balanced couple , right down to the level of intesity they each carry into a program.

    Of the newly formed couples, I'm really looking forward to Hubbell / Donohue . Their FD is to “ I Put a Spell on You “ and apparently that's just what they did to all those who saw them this summer … including the judges. This could be good.

    I'm still so numb over the S/B split ( I saw them as probable future World Champions ) that I have no sense of what to expect of them with their new partners. We'll see Chock / Bates at SC , but maybe not until their respective Nationals for Samuelson / Gilles and Gilles / Poirier, and there's no word of a partnership for Vanessa Crone , yet . I find it hard to work up much excitement until I see them.

    I'm quite looking forward to Zhiganshina / Gazsi.. sounds like they have a more serious FD this year. Cappelini / La Notte ... I hope they can bounce back ,but it still sounds like a scattered coaching situation to me.
    Bobrova / Soloviev could have an inspired choice in “Walpurgis Night “ for their FD. I can see her completely in that role. Light, airy, flirtatious..it could be great.

    I can't say I feel Ralph /Hill have made good choices in either dance but since it's very early, I'll just hope for improvement. I don't think the rhumba works very well at that tempo, plus .. unless they're toned down ,the gyrations ( and lower lip biting )will cross the vulgarity line. Costume too naked for Kharis. There's still time for refinement. And FD.. Tango is so difficult to carry off well or believably , unless you have a natural affinity for the dance , or are skaters of the highest calibre ( see D/W ) it won't show you to your best advantage.
    Strangely, Harvey/Gagnon who were very close to R/H at Canadians last year , have a challenged SD as well ..I just don't think a faster rhumba works ... it may fit into another 4/4, but unless it's a distinct rhumba..it's kind of flat. Their FD has some nice moves, but was still a bit rough at BCSS. Tarah's SD costume didn't say “Latin “ at all. In my mind, these are the 2 teams ( this year ) that will need to watch out for the emergence of G/P at Canadians ..and for Orford / Williams steaming up from Juniors.

    I still think Virtue /Moir and this year's champions ( Ta Da!) Davis/ White will be pretty unassailable at the top of the heap. We can trust that V/M's SD will be fabulous ,and I'm curious to see D/W's..they say it has a hip-hop feel. Hmmmm ( could be fun... could be a bit of a divergence from straight latin ?). OTOH their FD sounds like a return to their strength , while V/M's FD is a bit of a mystery til we know what pieces they're using from Funny face. I know we can trust it will be good, but there's a lot of different things they could do with it.

    Pechalat / Bourzat are maybe the biggest question mark for me.. I loved last year's programs.. but don't know what to think about their “ Pharaoh and Mummy “ FD.. often I've felt they got lost in their most theatrical programs..so I'm a bit anxious for them. There's a lot of hot talent on their heels. If they're ever going to medal it would be lovely if they could do it in France.

    That's what's puzzling my puzzler , what about you ?
    Last edited by colleen o'neill; 09-01-2011 at 04:53 AM.

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    I did a while back but they got archived. I'll try and find links and add to the discussion here.

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    Pogue..As you can see, I've been in a fog.. Now that you mention it, I seem to remember vaguely...maybe I couldn't begin to sort my thoughts when your thread was first up..If anyone wants to bump yours up and add mine in , that would be good, too.

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    Done !

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    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Thanks, Doris... I have to laugh at myself..Of course I remember this thread..just not what it was called .. ( oh, break out the Ginko !)

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    From Russian skating....

    Bobrova/Soloviev
    SD
    Ummm.... Okay, the acoustics were atrocious, so I couldn't get the feel of it, but I suspect I have no idea what a rhumba actually is, because if that's close, than I am WAY off. Over on FSU, they're ripping her to shreds for her posture, and I definitely see issues there. Rather disappointing since I really really liked their FD last season and I was always annoyed that they were behind Khoklova/Novitski. Oh, and that move he does after the no touching circular footwork (which I can tell, I'm gonna loathe this element) is absolutely hilarious.

    FD
    Better. I really don't like programs that have two short lifts in succession like that, but the position she hits is interesting. Opening lift by far the best move. Though I wouldn't describe this program as "light, airy, flirtacious" but I'm not familiar with the music. Acoustics better too, so I'm not really willing to write the SD off.

    Riazanova/Tkachenko
    SD
    Apparently, it's just a copy of DomShabs 05/06 OD. It suited DomShabs more (music wise). Odd costumes. Contortionist curve lift.

    FD
    An opening salvo in what I hope will be a successful season. What a free dance this is. Those straight line lifts are to die for. The reverse rotational one needs work, but I suspect it'll be a refined bit of amazement by Worlds. And the whole thing is exquisitely emotional. Man I hope they don't get dumped this season.

    Gorshkova/Butikov were there as well, but they were a bit of a mess.

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